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The student website of Van Nuys High School
Van Nuys, California
The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

Girls flag football team makes history – but nobody was there to see it happen

It felt like no one cared, like no one even bothered to bat an eye.
Van+Nuys+players+let+out+a+rallying+cry+after+a+time+out
THE MIRROR | FARAH ALSIBAI
Van Nuys players let out a rallying cry after a time out

As I sat in my sixth period seat, my feet were twitching as I observed the clock in my classroom hit 3:38 p.m. I was excited that the first week of school had finally finished. I rushed home eager to get ready for something that I had been waiting for ever since the start of the summer: the first boys football game of the season. 

I arrived ten minutes before the game and claimed a spot on the bleachers from where I would be able to see everything. I sat down and took in how important this game was. 

The bleachers were full of students and parents, and all the administrators were sitting comfortably on the field in front of the endzone. JROTC students were there selling food for everyone; the cheer team was also in attendance cheering the team to victory the whole night. 

That night, the football team won their season opener and I only had only one thing on my mind: how excited I was for the girls flag football season to begin. 

Seeing all the school spirit that was put in by the staff, cheer team and JROTC students for the boys football team made me thrilled to see what the school would do for the girls flag football team, especially because this game would be a big deal. It was the first flag football team in the school’s history. 

I had been interested in joining the flag football team since it was first announced by Mr. Dion Coley last year. Luckily, I got accepted into the team after trying out in June. 

However, inherent inequalities were noticeable from the start.

Anytime there was flag football practice, we were only allowed on a little grassy spot next to the softball field. That is where we practiced all summer long preparing for our season to begin. 

Every time we practiced, we were always able to see the football team also preparing for their season. But when I looked at them, I adored that they were able to practice on the big field where we would be playing our games. 

I found it a bit unfair, since the field is big enough to where we could split the field in half to have both teams practice. But I just shrugged it off just like everyone else on the team. 

The day of our first game arrived and I was elated because it was the first ever girls flag football game. I got to school and noticed that the two cheerleaders in my first period class were not wearing their cheer uniforms like they normally would on football game days. I was able to convince myself that they would just change later and I simply went on with my day.

The clock hit 2:00 p.m. and it was time to leave my fifth period class to get ready for the game. I walked into the locker room and immediately got a gust of positive energy from my teammates. As I walked in, I heard music being blasted and laughter being shared.

I could also feel a lot of nervousness being hidden by that laughter. But that anxiety and nervous feeling would quickly be brushed away, because when we walked onto the field, we would feel school spirit through the support and cheers being expressed by students and staff, right?

Wrong.

When we walked onto the field we saw no one but two of our teammates who weren’t able to play, and the other teams that would be playing later. No students were on our side of the bleachers like I had seen at the boys football game, no staff members were in front of the endzone, the cheer team was not there cheering for us and no JROTC students were in sight.

It felt dreadful.

I saw the look on my teammates’ faces and I was finally able to see the nervousness and fear that they were hiding earlier. It felt like no one was there to support us on such an important and big day, the day that we had practiced months for. 

Where was the school spirit? Why wasn’t anyone there? Why was no one supporting us after we worked so hard just to be there? Why was the boys football game more important than the girls flag football game? 

Why? Why? Why? These were questions I asked myself over and over again for days, that I never got answers to. We ended up winning our first game, but sadly losing right after in our second game. 

I went home with a feeling of ambivalence. I was content because the months of practice paid off in our first game, but that feeling was drowned out by the feeling of sorrow. Sorrow because I knew that the team felt alone and unsupported.

I looked at the school’s instagram account to see if they posted anything about our win, but I saw nothing. I then looked at the school’s athletics instagram account to see if anything was posted, but yet again, I saw nothing.

It felt like no one cared, like no one even bothered to bat an eye. 

We then attended a tournament hosted by the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday, Sept. 23, where we won one out of three flag football games and two out of three tug of war games.

I only aim to spread awareness, and to encourage students and staff to attend girls flag football games to support the newly formed team. By doing this, the team will feel supported and cared about, like how we should have felt in the beginning of our season. 

Hopefully, as the season goes on, things will change and more people will show up to show support. But for now, we as a team have to live with the fact that no one cares enough to show up for us.

 

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About the Contributor
Isabel Valles
Isabel Valles, Athletics Editor
Through participating in multiple sports writing competitions, I was able to prove my commitment to the class and was chosen to become sports editor in my second year of journalism. My love for sports writing came around the time my love for sports developed around 6 years ago. Another thing I love about writing about sports is being able to inform and catch up readers about games that they may have missed. Currently I play three sports, flag football, track and field, and basketball. After high school I plan on attending either the University of Pennsylvania or the University of Santa Cruz. My goal for this year as editor is to become a better leader and learn from any mistakes that I might make in the process.
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